Climate Change

Giant inland sea created by the disastrous Mozambique cyclone

Cyclone Idai left death, destruction, and a sprawling inland sea in its wake. 

The powerful tropical cyclone — which struck Mozambique last Thursday as the equivalent of a Category 2 or 3 hurricane with winds of around 100 mph — has left at least 150 dead and 600,000 in need of help in the flooded nation said the EU, though the Associated Press reports over 300 fatalities as of March 21 when accounting for deaths in neighboring Zimbabwe.

The cyclone’s widespread flooding — in part overshadowed by simultaneous and historic flooding in the Midwest — has left behind an inundated area some 200 square miles in size (518 square kilometers), with the inland sea reaching up to 15 miles wide, according to satellite images from the European Space Agency (ESA).  Read more…

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The West accepts its drought-ridden future, slashes water use

Out West, the future is dry.

Amid an unprecedented 19-year drought in the expansive Colorado River Basin — which supplies water to 40 million Americans — seven Western states have acknowledged that the 21st century will only grow drier as temperatures continue to rise. And that means less water in the 1,450-mile Colorado River. On Tuesday, water managers from states including California, Utah, and New Mexico announced a drought plan (formally called a Drought Contingency Plan), which cuts their water use for the next seven years — until an even more austere plan must be adopted.

Already, the drought has left water levels at Lake Mead — the nearly 250-square-mile reservoir that’s held back by the formidable Hoover Dam — at their lowest levels in half a century. The water shortage has left telltale, white mineral “bathtub rings” around the basin, well over 100 feet high.  Read more…

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NASA photos capture immense flooding of a vital U.S. Air Force base

In 1948, Air Force Secretary Stuart Symington stationed the United States’ long-range nuclear bombers at Offutt Air Force Base in eastern Nebraska, a location safe in the middle of the nation and well-insulated from the coast.

But 70 years later, the base — now home to the U.S. Strategic Command which deters “catastrophic actions from adversaries and poses an immediate threat to any actor who questions U.S. resolve by demonstrating our capabilities” — isn’t safe from historic and record-setting floods

Intense rains on top of the rapid melting of ample snow has inundated large swathes of Nebraska and a full one-third of the Offutt Air Force Base, including the headquarters building. Read more…

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Here’s a running list of all the ways climate change has altered Earth in 2019

Earth is now the warmest it’s been in some 120,000 years. Eighteen of the last 19 years have been the warmest on record. And concentrations of carbon dioxide — a potent greenhouse gas — are likely the highest they’ve been in 15 million years

The consequences of such a globally-disrupted climate are many, and it’s understandably difficult to keep track. To help, here’s a list of climate-relevant news that has transpired in 2019, from historically unprecedented disappearances of ice, to flood-ravaged cities. As more news comes out, the list will be updated. Read more…

1Guess what? U.S. carbon emissions popped back up in a big way

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16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Whoever thinks young people can’t change the world is wrong. For proof, just look at 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

Because of her efforts to combat climate change and save the planet — and inspire young people around the world to do the same — the Swedish teen has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by three Norwegian lawmakers. Should she win, she would become the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient, as BBC News points out. Education activist Malala Yousafzai won the prize at 17 years old. 

“We have nominated Greta because the climate threat may be one of the most important causes of war and conflict,” Norwegian parliamentary representative Freddy Andre Oevstegaard told local tabloid VGRead more…

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Geoengineering might not be so ludicrous an idea — if we gave Earth the right dose

Solar geoengineering is widely viewed as risky business. 

The somewhat sci-fi concept — to use blimps, planes, or other means to load Earth’s atmosphere with particles or droplets that reflect sunlight and cool the planet — has crept into the mainstream conversation as a means of reversing relentless climate change, should our efforts to slash carbon emissions fail or sputter. But geoengineering schemes come with a slew of hazards. A number of studies have cited the ill consequences of messing with Earth’s sun intake, including big falls in crop production, the likelihood of unforeseen adverse side effects, and critically, a weakened water cycle that could trigger drops in precipitation and widespread drought. Read more…

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In a glamorous turn of events, polar bears are pooping glitter to fight off extinction

Fighting extinction is a daunting and demanding task, but it does come with some quirky perks for the scientists willing to tackle it — like the opportunity to sort through thousands of packages of glitzy, glittery polar bear poop. 

Researchers at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens have been hard at work investigating means of conserving the global polar bear population since 2008. Focusing predominantly on the polar bear’s reproductive system, these scientists have spent over a decade attempting to crack the code on increasing the species’ population despite the continued threats posed by climate change. Read more…

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Washington governor Jay Inslee is running in 2020 as the first climate change candidate

The Democratic field in 2020 got a little more crowded — and someone is finally putting climate change center stage.

Washington governor Jay Inslee announced on Friday that he will seek the Democratic nomination for president. But what really sets Inslee apart is his  commitment to being the climate change candidate. In fact, Inslee seems to be the first major candidate in U.S. history to make climate change his main platform for running. 

The main mission statement on Inslee’s campaign website is all about climate change, but it also illustrates how it can affect a large range of other issues, including the economy and national security. Read more…

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